Students Bringing More Guns to New York Schools: David Banks

According to police data released Wednesday, more than 4,700 guns have been seized from New York schools since the return to face-to-face classes in the fall.

More than half of those were pepper spray and knives, which school officials suggested to the students for fear of violence that could erupt after the dismissal bell rang.

“Even in our schools, which haven’t had any significant problems, they’re raising all kinds of concerns because there are problems outside of the schools,” School Chancellor David Banks said at a Queens town hall.

Nearly 1,400 pepper sprays have been recovered so far this school year, compared to 186 all of last year – despite classes being temporarily removed due to the pandemic. Knives under four inches have caused more than 1,100 recoveries since the fall, but only 774 in the last school year.

Sixteen firearms, including two firearms, have been seized from school facilities since late winter. Five firearms were found last school year.

school guns
School staff were stunned to find a stash of guns in a safe in the principal’s office.
school guns
As crime rises, students find ways to protect themselves.
Peter Gerber

Tasers have reached 416 this school year, compared to 42 the year before. School safety agents are also seeing more metal knuckles than in previous years – up from 18 in 2020-21 to 104 in 2021-22.

“The kids bring guns, but they don’t bring them to use on their classmates at school,” Banks told families Tuesday night. “They are concerned about what is happening two blocks from the school.”

On Wednesday, a student was shot dead across the street from Maspeth High School in Elmhurst, where the school went into lockdown in the afternoon.

Department of Education safety director Mark Rampersant told Queens parents that Banks, Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell are in “lock step” to keep students safe across the school system.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell continues to protect the city.
William Farington

He said a second class of 250 school security agents under the Adams administration is already in training.

Banks, a former school safety officer, told families he grew up in a “police house” — his father was part of the NYPD for nearly three decades and his brother is the deputy mayor for public safety.

The chancellor, who admitted to meeting with groups who want fewer officers in the school, said: “I certainly appreciate them immensely.”

“You can’t learn if you’re not sure,” Banks said.

Additional reporting bj Craig McCarthy. Students Bringing More Guns to New York Schools: David Banks


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